WM. T. WRIGHT. – Mr. Wright, who has demonstrated the practicability of fruit culture in the Umatilla country, was born in Massachusetts in 1830. His father was a molder and worker in iron furnaces, and in 1840 moved to Ohio, where Mr. Wright as a boy received a common-school education, and remained with his parents until of age, when he engaged in stock-dealing on his own account. In 1853 he came to California, mining, gardening, speculating and stock-dealing. In 1859 he returned to Ohio and engaged in the oil-well region at Mecca and in Pennsylvania. Ten years later he went to the plains of the West with the intention of raising stock in Kansas, and he also engaged in milling in Missouri.
In 1879 he crossed the plains to Umatilla county, Oregon, and pre-empted the tract of land immediately northwest of the town of Milton. He commenced experimenting with the different fruits of the country, raising one year three thousand pounds of strawberries and eight thousand pounds of grapes upon one acre of land, and other fruits in proportion. This marked success stimulated others to develop small portions of the so-called gravel flat; and as a consequence large profits were realized. These are now well covered with orchards, vineyards, etc.; and these hitherto unvalued lands are now as productive as any. Mr. Wright has four acres in grapes of twenty varieties, and has demonstrated without a doubt the value of that quality of land for growing all kinds of small fruits.
In October, 1883, he purchased and plated North Milton, which addition to that town is rapidly growing. The Peacock Roller Mills, the Milton Paper Mills, and the Oregon Railway & Navigation Company’s depot grounds are situated in that region.